UK Politics

Labour will help the forgotten, says Ed Miliband in New Year message

Media captionEd Miliband: "I believe Britain can be better than it is"

Labour leader Ed Miliband has promised to stand up for the "forgotten wealth- creators" and young people "let down" by the coalition government.

In a New Year message, he accused David Cameron and Nick Clegg of "breaking promises and dreams".

He pledged to set out in detail his vision for a "One Nation Britain" in 2013 with "concrete" policies on business, welfare and education.

But he warned against offering "easy answers" at a time of austerity.

The Conservatives and Lib Dems have said the opposition has no plan to deal with the UK's deficit and return the economy to sustainable long-term growth while offering a "something for nothing" approach on welfare.

In a video address to activists, Mr Miliband reiterated his aspiration for Labour to be a "one nation" party reaching out to all parts of the UK and to all social groups - a goal first set out in his party conference speech in October.

'Two jobs'

He urged greater support for young people, particularly those not going to university, to small businesses and working families struggling to make ends meet.

"That is what you will be hearing about from the Labour Party in 2013," he said.

"How you create a One Nation economy, not based on the old idea that wealth trickles down from those at the top to everyone else, but that we need to reward the forgotten wealth creators of our country.

"The people doing two jobs, the people coming home after our curtains are closed at night and going back out to work again the next morning before our curtains are open.

"The small businesses struggling against the odds, we need to help them succeed."

'False promises'

Everyone must play their part in helping rebuild the economy and promoting social responsibility, he added, ranging from big companies paying their fair share of tax to those capable of work seeking employment.

He described the coalition as "a bad government that is letting down the good people of this country".

The opposition began a root-and-branch review of policy in 2010 and is expected to set out its stall on key issues in the year ahead, in the run-up to the next general election - scheduled for 2015.

Mr Miliband added: "I've set out a vision of what this country can be, One Nation, and in 2013 we will be setting out concrete steps on making that vision a reality from business to education to welfare.

"I don't offer easy answers and I'm not going to offer false promises either. But I do believe Britain can be better than it is. There can be hope for people again."

Speaking on Wednesday, Conservative chairman Grant Shapps said the government had taken "difficult and responsible decisions" on public spending and welfare and contrasted this with other parties offering "glib and simple" solutions.

He said the deficit had been cut by a quarter since the coalition came to the power and unemployment had fallen for the past eight months.

"Progress is being made and the economy is healing," he told the BBC.

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